Building surveying is a popular career choice for graduates joining the built environment profession – and with good reason. A highly comprehensive and respected area of surveying practice, it can yield excellent salary prospects and flexible career opportunities. Meanwhile, this pathway opens up several opportunities for graduates to take part in exciting, innovative projects that have great social impact in their communities and around the world.
The building surveying pathway will give you a skillset that is foundational to the success of any construction project. Keep reading to learn why building surveyors are in demand, how you can develop as a graduate building surveyor and which skills you’ll need to land your graduate role.
Ready to kick-start your career? Check out the industry opportunities, roles and salaries for graduate building surveyors available on RICS Recruit.
What does a building surveyor do?
A building surveyor assesses the quality of buildings across a range of property types, including commercial, residential and public sector properties. They are a valuable member of any construction team and are vital to the planning, budgeting and maintenance of properties. Learn more about the responsibilities of a building surveyor on the RICS website.
Are building surveyors in demand?
Very much so; due to a scarcity of new talent, many large employers around the UK are seeking graduate building surveyors. This is because building surveyors have a key role in developing cities, using their knowledge of issues like urbanisation, sustainability and resource scarcity to inform planning and building practices. They have a specialised skillset that keeps them in demand, for two main reasons:
Acting as a safety analyst during the construction process, a building surveyor will conduct both internal and structural inspections to ensure safe, sustainable criteria are being met. They will act as the appointed advisor to construction teams, taking environmental and ergonomic factors into account.
Another common service carried out by building surveyors is asset valuation. A building surveyor will most accurately report the physical and intrinsic value of a property, both land and assets – for example, if a building owner is seeking a mortgage or insurance, or to provide a guide price for the buying and selling of a property.
Is building surveying a good degree?
An RICS accredited degree in building surveying is very attractive to graduate employers. This degree teaches the critical industry knowledge and skills to evaluate and apply construction practices as a building surveyor and guarantees a high standard of professional and ethical competence.
For many employers, having an RICS accredited degree shows that graduates share their professional values. Likewise, they are committed to supporting graduates to achieve chartered status as part of their professional development.
Graduates with a non-accredited degree in building surveying (or a degree in an unrelated subject) can also become a chartered building surveyor by completing a postgraduate qualification through a graduate training scheme or postgraduate conversion course.
How much do graduate building surveyors earn?
The average salary for graduate building surveying jobs is £25,000 a year, working 38-40 hours per week. You can expect to earn a base salary of around £39,000 when you first become chartered.
To learn more about salaries, check out graduate building surveying jobs in your region.
What skills do you need to become a building surveyor?
Graduates can bring a great deal of transferable skills to a career in building surveying, even from an unrelated subject. Still, a good trick always is to match your skills to the job – and if your skills don’t match, then to use all training opportunities to help you get there.
Here’s our list of essential skills for landing graduate building surveying jobs:
- Adaptability and enthusiasm to work in a consultancy environment
- Strong interpersonal skills to demonstrate relationship building with clients
- Motivation to develop yourself and drive to achieve professional accreditation
- Confidence to work in a team and on your own initiative
- Reasonable level of fitness and mobility
- Commercial awareness
- Good communication skills, written and verbal
- Strong IT skills and comfortable learning new technologies
- Strong maths skills, for numerical analysis and analytical thinking
Even when applying for your first building surveyor role, it’s useful to know the top skills high earning surveyors have. Employers value applicants with a mindset that reflects their industry, especially if they possess the skills to go with it. But don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet every criteria – showing drive and enthusiasm to develop your skills can go a long way.
Career progression paths for building surveyors
Building surveyors will find themselves with great advancement opportunities as they become more experienced. You may progress to project or senior management roles or decide to move into a related field. After achieving chartered status, you can practice globally, go into private partnership or start your own consultancy firm.
Starting out as a graduate building surveyor
Getting your first graduate building surveyor job is as challenging as it is exciting. Not only are building surveyors in high demand; this is a highly rewarding career that offers great mobility, specialist knowledge and a promising starter salary.
Entry to the profession is also more accessible than ever, with many employers willing to support you to qualify through building surveying degree apprenticeships, from school leaver to postgraduate level. Meanwhile, your professional development will continue throughout your career, connecting you with opportunities to work on projects all over the world.
Feeling inspired? Learn how these surveyors got into their first surveying roles.
Get advice with choosing references for graduate building surveying jobs. For all things related to graduate surveying, visit the RICS Recruit Graduate Hub.